This article is one in a series outlining the 20 research projects which are funded by CONNECTED in its pump-prime funding programme. To read all the available articles use this link.

Low cost surveillance for Sub-Saharan Africa

A project aimed at developing early warning systems to detect new and emerging plant diseases

The ability to control new and emerging diseases is greatly enhanced the earlier they are found, and this relies on the use of effective surveillance systems. Yet surveillance in Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly difficult due to factors including poor provision of extension services, a lack of pest and disease diagnostic capability, and the high cost of establishing it.

This has led to myriad new disease outbreaks, resulting in epidemics causing significant yield losses, food insecurity and low agriculture sector growth.

Sentinels plants are used to provide early warning of disease spread, and this Mali-focused project uses virus-susceptible indicator vegetable plants in sentinel plots to monitor disease symptoms, and to attract and trap virus-spreading insects.

Low cost virus surveillance systems are key to early detection and control – and networks of sentinel plots could form a basis upon which improved future monitoring is achieved.


  • Mali
  • UK

International research collaboration

  • World Vegetable Center, Mali
  • Newcastle University, UK


  • Neil Boonham (Principal Investigator)
  • Wubetu Bihon Legesse

Network members can find further details about those involved in the project by logging in to this site as a member, and using the Member Directory

To become a network member free of charge, use this link.